Inside the Hotel Commonwealth
502c Commonwealth Avenue
September 14 through October 30
HAROLD FEINSTEIN HAS NEVER SOUGHT THE LIMELIGHT. HE WAS "IN WITH THE CROWD," BUT NEVER CRAVED THE ATTENTION OR ACCLAIM THAT COME WITH CELEBRITY. AND, AS WITH ALL GOOD THINGS, HIS STUNNING WORK IS NOW QUIETLY DRAWING THE LASTING RECOGNITION THAT A FAST- PACED, HEADLINE- GRABBING LIFESTYLE NEVER COULD.
“I love my work... I love taking pictures,” Feinstein exudes, and for over 60 years that has been the heart of it. What makes Feinstein’s work so memorable, so arresting, is that he, in his words, “bears witness to love and to life.” While our culture seems mired in an obsession with the sensational, with the desire to see humans at their worst, Feinstein is able to find that instant where beauty thrives, where the true, unadulterated soul of his subject is exposed, and he celebrates it, worships it.
Feinstein’s photography career blossomed in his teenage years, and by age 17 he had joined New York’s famed Photo League while studying with co- founder Sid Grossman. Feinstein counts fellow Photo-Leaguers Sol Libsohn (also co-founder), W. Eugene Smith and Robert Frank as influences he looked up to early in his career and whom he still admires, although now, “I’m my favorite photographer,” he smirks. Two years later, Edward Steichen of the Museum of Modern Art purchased Feinstein’s work for MoMA’s permanent collection, a major coup at age 19.
Feinstein was well-entrenched in New York’s artistic community in the ‘50s and ‘60s, where he lived in the “Jazz Loft” and communed with the great Hall Overton, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis and Teddy Charles, to name a few. Here he designed and photographed album covers for the famed Blue Note records.